With the proliferation of predictive analytics initiatives showing no signs of slowing, the continued public interest in the field is making an impact on the market. While last year’s trends are still relevant, there have been some key developments that we wanted to focus on, and examine their implications for predictive analytics professionals and those looking to hire them.
Current Hiring Market Trends
After several years of sustained media coverage, industry excitement, and program pivots in the academic sector, we’re starting to see a marked increase in the supply of talent at the early career level. We first pointed this out a few years ago, but recently the difference has become much more noticeable.
Since we’ve been collecting data for these studies over the past six years, we’ve seen the educational backgrounds of analytics professionals increasingly diversify. Professionals may be entering the field from one of the newly-formed analytics or data science advanced degree programs, retraining with bootcamps or MOOCs, or even transitioning from other fields. The increased variety of skills and broadening of educational backgrounds in the field means that, especially now, there is no one path to the analytics field.
Implications for predictive analytics professionals – With more educational programs and other avenues to learn new skills and tools, it’s crucial to keep your skillset diversified and up-to-date. As more analytics hopefuls enter the field, those who are adaptable and can show their ability to address business problems will be able to differentiate themselves during the hiring process.
Implications for employers – Although there may be more candidates at the early career level, you will need to carefully evaluate their quantitative depth to make sure they are a match for your position. When hiring quantitative professionals, especially those early in their career, be ready to train them up on the business applications of their work, since their lack of business acumen is a pain point that won’t be going away anytime soon.
2. Salary bands are remaining fairly steady, while other employee benefits have increased
As we’ve reported for the past few years, despite the intense competition for talent there has not been a significant increase in salary bands at any job level. However, throughout our conversations with both professionals and employers we’ve noticed an increase in supplemental “perks”, such as flexible work schedules or allowing employees to work from home one day a week, free food, social events, or even health and fitness benefits. Additionally, instead of offering higher base salaries, some employers are opting for sign-on bonuses or richer stock grants to increase the offer package value.
Professionals – While we’ve always advocated for carefully evaluating the entire offer package when job searching, it’s becoming even more important to balance your compensation goals with your workplace preferences and long-term career goals. We understand that salary is an important consideration, but it’s also crucial to look for growth and learning opportunities to advance your career, and taking advantage of perks like a flexible schedule can be a significant non-monetary benefit.
Employers – Make sure your job offers are competitive with the market. Be aware of comparable salaries in your industry and region, and if increasing salary bands is an issue, then look into other ways to supplement your recruiting and retention strategy. This may include benefits that you haven’t traditionally offered in the past, but might make sense in light of inflexible compensation offerings.
3. The increase in opportunities is leading to more candidate scrutiny of potential roles
With the proliferation of analytics opportunities across the country, we’ve noticed that because analytics professionals have so many options, they’re shying away from roles that require extraordinarily long hours and difficult commutes. There has also been an increased resistance to residential relocation, suburban office locations, and cities that aren’t considered tech-forward, analytical hubs.
Professionals – Although we’ve said before that there’s never been a better time to be an analytics professional, it’s still important to be strategic about your career development. Changing jobs too frequently or being overly focused on salary at the expense of growth and learning opportunities can hinder your ability to reach the long-term career goals that you’re really hoping for.
Employers – The market is strong, which means it’s crucial for employers courting analytics professionals to pay attention to branding and to project a positive image. The quantitative community is still small, so if your firm is battling negative Glassdoor reviews, has a reputation for expecting long hours, or leaves a bad first impression during the hiring process, prospective candidates will likely hear about it, and it may impact their interest in your company.
There are two other trends that we wanted to mention here. Although their full impact remains to be seen, they’ll likely have an even greater influence on the hiring market going forward, so we thought it prudent to discuss them.
1. Salary history bans are spreading
Laws preventing employers from asking potential candidates about their salary history are spreading to more and more places. This can not only present challenges for our data collection, but it can also add complications for analytics professionals looking to engage in a smooth and streamlined hiring process. Without salary disclosure, there is often additional back and forth that can unnecessarily lengthen the hiring process, and it can be more difficult for employers and candidates to be on the same page.
2. Visa support is becoming a bigger challenge
Another trend that is obstructing both employers and many analytics professionals is the current tangle around visa support in the US. Many visas that allow foreign-born quantitative professionals to work or study in the US are seeing increased wait times and even declines, which has troubling implications for those on both sides of the hiring table.
Clearly, the increased interest in analytics and influx of talent at the junior level will continue to have ripple effects throughout the industry for years to come. Notably, as the opportunities in the field have increased and salaries have stabilized, many analytics professionals have begun to look beyond base salary when evaluating offer packages. On the employer side as well, we’ve seen that those who consider the entire offer package – compensation and non-monetary benefits alike – tend to have more hiring success.
Additionally, the developing situations with visas and salary history bans have already started to make their influence on the market apparent, though it may be some time before we see the full ramifications. Overall, it will be interesting to see how these trends play out in the next few years, and we’ll be on the lookout for more developments in next year’s report.
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